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Throwback Thursday

Well, sometimes spring can be an ornery cuss! There are years it's just unwilling to come when called. Here in Johnson County, we just attach it to a tractor because, hey, the parade is waiting! is your place for Johnson County, Kansas history! Follow our hashtag on Twitter.  


2019 Writers Conference

Dine With an Author

Have you ever wanted to meet a published author up close and personal? Now might be your chance! Enter our essay contest on Submittable explaining why you and your closest friend should have dinner with conference faculty member Ron Currie

Currie is a novelist and screenwriter whose books have been translated into fifteen languages and won awards from the New York Public Library, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Library Association. His short fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Believer, and elsewhere. He's a native of Maine, where he still lives. 

Currie will choose the most compelling essay and, if chosen, you and a friend will spend an evening chatting with him over dinner on Monday, November 18 from 6 - 8 pm. Dinner is on us *alcohol excluded.

Share Your Work

This year we’re also offering a conference prompt engaging with the library’s fall theme “Unlocking the Mind.” You can share your work with other local writers on our new community blog by responding to the question: “How has writing helped you through difficult times?” We’ll post submissions to our conference blog and conference organizers will review and invite select local writers to share their work at the conference kickoff alongside some of our faculty on Thursday, November 14.

Check out what’s already been submitted here!

Get Feedback

This year we are offering several opportunities to have your work critiqued. 

Huascar Medina, Poet Laureate of Kansas, will offer both live editing of selected submitted works, as well as two small group poetry critique sessions. 

Stuck in the middle? Ron Currie offers a weekend intensive workshop designed to help writers with works in progress get over the hump and move towards a conclusion. 

1st Page Reads, always a popular session, will be offered both Friday and Saturday. Submit work for potential live editing by Eric Obenauf, Polly McCann, and Jessica Conoley. Learn what makes these editors keep reading on. Or what makes them click next.

Get to Work

If you’re looking to do some freewriting or jump back into a pre-existing project, we’ll be offering inspiration and space to put pen to paper. The conference will feature competitive NaNoWriMo Word Sprints for those wanting to hit their big word count goals. If you’re in need of ideas, Story in a Bag will help you begin a new story or develop a concept, or our partners from KC Zine Con will help you create a zine and leave the conference with a completed project.

The 2019 Writers Conference has more opportunities than ever to get inspired and involved.  We hope to see you there!


We’re excited to add Joshua Mohr to our faculty list for the 2019 Writers Conference!

If you saw Joshua Mohr when he was here in September 2018, you’ll be as excited as we are that he’s returning for the conference. He’ll be teaching about Conflict and Tension, sitting in conversation with his writing partner Ron Currie, and again with his publisher Eric Obenauf.

Joshua Mohr is the author of the memoir "Sirens" (2017), as well as five novels including "Damascus", which The New York Times called "Beat-poet cool." He’s also written "Fight Song" and "Some Things that Meant the World to Me," one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as "Termite Parade," an Editors’ Choice in The New York Times.  His novel "All This Life" won the Northern California Book Award. He is the founder of Decant Editorial. 

Read an excerpt of Sirens over at BuzzFeed.

Read An Unexpected Beautiful View of Fatherhood, From the Bathroom Floor over at the Washington Post.


Also on our 2019 Writers Conference faculty:

Eric Obenauf  founded the publishing company Two Dollar Radio with his wife, Eliza. Their publications have been honored by the National Book Foundation, named Notable Books at the New York Times, finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and placed on best-of-year lists at O, The Oprah Magazine, the Washington PostNPR, and others. He was included in Publishers Weekly‘s ’50 Under 40’ list, and was a finalist in the magazine’s 2016 “Star Watch” program. Two Dollar Radio runs The Flyover Fest, a multidisciplinary festival featuring artists working in music, literature, and film over the course of 4 days in Columbus, Ohio, and in 2017 opened a bookstore/bar/plant-based cafe and event space called Two Dollar Radio Headquarters.

Leatrice "Elle" McKinney, writing as L.L. McKinney, is a poet and active member of the kidlit community. She’s an advocate for equality and inclusion in publishing, and the creator of the hashtag #WhatWoCWritersHear. Elle's also a gamer, Blerd, and adamant Hei Hei stan living in Kansas City. She spends her free time plagued by her cat Sir Chester Fluffmire Boopsnoot Purrington Wigglebottom Flooferson III, esquire, Baron o'Butterscotch or #SirChester. Random fact: Chester is a huge BTS fan, Elle has video proof. A Blade So Black is her debut novel, released fall 2018, with the highly anticipated sequel slated for later this year.

We also welcome Ron Currie to our 2019 Writers Conference faculty. Currie is a novelist and screenwriter. His books have been translated into fifteen languages and won awards from the New York Public Library, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Library Association. His short fiction, essays, and criticism have appeared in the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Believer, and elsewhere. He's a native of Maine, where he still lives.


Now at Oak Park: Joseph Jurkiewicz

Monday, January 7 to Sunday, April 21, 2019

Joe Jurkiewicz is a visual artist whose paintings explore themes of desire, loneliness, anxiety and exaltation. Pulling influences from street art and fashion illustration, he creates perplexing surreal imagery developed in sketchbooks, where he explores new ideas, mark making and surrounding influences. He graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute of May 2016 with a major in Illustration.


What would you like people to know most about your art? 

That my work comes from my imagination. I find joy and catharsis while creating art and I want people to feel that in some way.


What is your creative process, and what is the most challenging part?  The most rewarding?

My creative process mainly comes from the element of play. I tend to have fun while creating art-not holding to any standards or having any fear of the end result. I simply allow my work to become what it is intended.


From where do you gain inspiration?  

Almost anything and everything. Talking to people, listening to music, playing video games, watching movies and drawing what I see.


What wisdom/insight would you share with your past self if you could?

Haha I would tell myself to draw more and work harder. I was young, lazy and didn’t know that hard work would pay off.


If you could recommend a book, musical artist/track/album, and movie what would they be?

Book I would recommend “start with why” by Simon Sinek. Japanese DJ producer Nujabes. Movie to watch is “Requiem for a Dream”. A must!


Corinth's READ Poster Winner

Each of our locations draws a name from the pool of kids who participated in Summer Reading to win a READ poster photoshoot. Here is Corinth Library's winner!

Corinth Library hosts many wonderful events, such as An Edible Discussion, Read to a Dog, and much more »


Music Monday Local Spotlight

Rubeo is Joe Rubeo, a mostly self-taught musician and songwriter who describes his music as having a "unique nostalgic feel with heavy 80s synth bass and swirling melodies that make you want to get down on the dance floor." This only begins to describe the immersive and warm quality of music that according to Rubeo himself emanates in large part from a phone app called Auxy. Rubeo's music proves that in the right hands the tools right under our thumbs can help produce remarkable art. in this interview Rubeo describes his creative process, musical background and what's been inspiring him lately


Food Insecurity, Romance Novels, and 6by6 ...

Did you hear about 6by6, Food Insecurity and Romance Novels?

We dedicate every Did you hear? episode to one of our many Library services. This time, it's 6 by 6: Ready to Read! It’s our early literacy program. Discover the 6 skills all kids should develop by age 6.

In this episode, Beth Atwater sits down with Melissa Horak-Hern and Gregg Winsor in our “We Recommend” section to discuss Romance novels! But first, It’s “What’s Happening.” Helen Hokanson, Amanda Wahlmeier and Dave Carson talk about food insecurity.  


Throwback Thursday: Women's History Month

Three women stand in a work area near a table and a duplicating or addressing machine at Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.

How many photos of women can be found at What are the stories behind these images? Get all the details. It's your place for Johnson County, Kansas history! Follow our hashtag on Twitter.


Father-Daughter Music Monday Local Spotlight

The musical pairing of father-daughter folk duo Bob and Una Walkenhorst is a real treat for fans of harmony-rich, socially conscious folk music. A member of The Rainmakers since 1983, Bob Walkenhorst is an accomplished musician, songwriter and painter. Una is a recognized artist in her own right, releasing her debut album Scars in 2015. The duo released their acclaimed debut album For Tomorrow in late 2018. In this interview, Una and Bob describe how their musical collaboration came about and what's ahead for them in 2019.



Una, when we first interviewed you back in 2015 you were


Career and Finance

Ready for a new career? Let us help »

Resumes – It's All About You Tuesday, Feb 26, 6pm @ Blue Valley Library

The Self-Directed Job Search – Effective Strategies Thursday, Mar 7, 6pm @ Cedar Roe Library


So You Think You Can Interview Saturday, Apr 6, 10am @ Monticello Library

Networking for Professional Success Tuesday, Apr 23, 6pm @ Blue Valley Library